With all the running I do through airports, you’d almost think that I’d prefer to stay home for vacation instead of getting on a plane, but nah, this explorer and traveler is ready for interesting adventures once again.
I decided after numerous travels across the United States, Canada and some of Mexico in the past several years that it was time to return to Europe. (The Asia Pacific region will have to wait, as will the Mahgreb, and Central America… so many places, not enough time.)
Previously I’ve been fortunate to visit Paris, London and the southern coast of Portugal so when I began thinking about where to go this year, I knew I didn’t want to repeat any of those.
Europe is big and varied, there are so many regions offering any number of experiences, so… where to go?
After looking at a map and pondering for a while, I narrowed my list to Amsterdam, Barcelona and Dublin. I’ve never been to any of them; each had their unique charms.
It was a very tough decision, but I’ve decided to go to Amsterdam and the Netherlands. (The image below is of Amsterdam’s famous canals that surround the center of the city in concentric rings.)
Dublin and Barcelona are still on my European wish-list along with Prague, and various cities in Spain, Greece, France and Italy.
I will have the luxury of being in the Netherlands for nine (9) days (not counting my two days needed to fly there and back), which is nice because I will be able to see a lot.
Dutch friends have already told me that it won’t make sense to spend all 9 days in Amsterdam… even though I will need plenty of time to see the museums housing Van Gogh, Vermeer, Rembrandt and lots of contemporary art and galleries. I’m really excited to see Vermeer’s work in person and to get a sense of the local art scene, which I understand is vibrant.
AND I’m extremely pleased because I’ve investigated music venues too, and blues and jazz clubs are all over Amsterdam. I think I mentioned in my post about Jr. Mack playing at Terra Blues, that he told the crowd in NYC that night he had just returned from Amsterdam the previous day… so it makes sense that blues venues are popular there. That is so cool.
So now I begin the work of figuring out where else to go in the Netherlands. Do I go to Rotterdam? Maybe Kinderdijk with its charming windmills? These are places I could probably go on day trips so that might be cool. (If I was really ambitious I could probably visit Antwerp or Bruges in Belgium, but that might be too ambitious.)
Some of you, my dear readers, live in the Netherlands and others who have traveled in that area… please feel free to make suggestions for your favorite places, restaurants, music venues, and other fun stuff to do in Amsterdam, and the Netherlands (links are also welcome.)
In any case, as my plans firm up for my “Return to the Continent” I’ll let you know.